Fall Festival begins at Local Farms

Pints, ice cream sandwiches and flavor options galore can be found at local gem, Cullipher farmers market. Stock-filled shelves with assorted baked goods and more welcome visitors into the farmers market store. Cullipher Farm located at 772 Princess Anne Road in Virginia Beach is a local farm that was established in 1950 and has a market selling fresh produce, baked goods and ice cream offering a wide array of products to choose from. At Cullipher Farm, visitors can also go seasonal fruit picking as an autumn festivity.

Mike Cullipher, the owner of the estate, shares more about the seasonal picking events at Cullipher Farms. “Our plan was to have fruits not counting pumpkins that would attract people through the whole year. We start with strawberries about April 15 and apples would run until about mid-October and then pumpkins would go until Halloween. We try to have something for everybody to pick throughout the year.”

Enjoy a walk in the apple orchards or grape vineyards to pick during the autumn season. Apple, grape and pumpkin picking are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The last pickers can enter at 5 p.m. at the latest or purchase 15 pre-picked apples for $25 at the market. Apples cost $2.99 per pound and grapes cost $7 per quart. To make the most of the festive experience when sunflower picking, bring sunscreen, hat, closed-toed shoes, water, a camera, a bucket and water for flowers, cutting shears and a basket for collecting them. Sunflowers cost $2 per bloom to pick.

Steffanie Ward, a junior in the Tri Sigma sorority at VWU, shares her experience at Cullipher Farms. “I definitely enjoyed being outside rather than buying apples from a grocery store, I got to pick them and bought them fresh. It supports them, and [it’s] more fun picking your own fruit than buying it from a grocery store.”

While visiting Cullipher Farm, explore the 8-acre corn maze that keeps visitors spinning. It takes about 90 minutes to complete, and it is recommended for visitors to purchase tickets online for $8 prior to coming to the farm. The morning admission is 9 a.m. to noon, and the afternoon admission is between 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Jump into the fall activities that Cullipher Farm has to offer and visit www.cullipherfarm.com for more information about you-pick-seasonal events. It opens from Tuesday to Sunday 9 a.m – 6 p.m. 

“It’s a day like today when it’s a pretty day. Families come to enjoy themselves and get a chance to see a real working farm and see how we grow things. The kids are happy, and so that’s what I get out of it,” said Cullipher.

Just down the road in Chesapeake, The Historic Greenbrier Farms has pick-your-own vegetables, wildflowers, sunflowers and pumpkins along with a market to purchase pickles, hot sauces and jams. The estate was established in 1850 and later became open to the public.

Tori Basnight, farm manager of Historic Greenbrier Farms, shares about their popular you-pick seasonal event. “The [popular] you-pick-event would definitely be strawberries. We have a really big strawberry field. We also have veggie crops. This year we planted our first year of fall veggies, so we’re excited to see how that goes. We have planted lettuce, collards, some brussels sprouts and then currently we have eggplant and okra still growing in our summer veggies.”

The fall festival is open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are barnyard animals from bunnies to ducks that visitors can feed for $5 along with free hayrides to enjoy during their visit when pumpkin picking. Pumpkins start at a price of $12 and sunflowers are $3 per bloom. Popcorn buckets are $10 and can be brought back each season for a $1 discount at strawberry and veggie picking and popcorn refills.

Basnight added how COVID-19 has impacted the estate, “Last year, it was a lot of wearing masks and we have more washing stations like at the sinks. As far as business, [COVID-19] hasn’t affected it too much because we’re a really big property and we’re all outdoors. Families are enjoying finding a place that’s safer to go outside to enjoy time with their family versus an indoor business.”

The Historic Greenbrier Farms also has a Halloween attraction that is open to experience called ‘A Haunting’ running from Sept. 24 through Oct. 31. ‘A Haunting’ has 6 consecutive haunted attractions with the bamboo forest and corn maze that has tripled in size.

Admission tickets are $25 per person or $23 per person in a group of 6 people and more. Tickets are also discounted for military ID and first responders at $23. It is open on Thursday – Sunday nights from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.  

Stop by the Historic Greenbrier Farms at 225 Sign Pine Road in Chesapeake and visit www.historicgreenbrierfarms.com for more information about their pick-your-own and seasonal events.

By Tiffany Warren